Jessica (she/her/hers) has over twenty years of experience working in the nonprofit sector in both K12 education and the arts. She is passionate about speech and debate programming and committed to improving equity and access, and creating more opportunities for BIPOC. Prior to her work in Denver, she spent eight years working in speech and debate education with the New York Urban Debate League. She was the founding Program Director of the Brooklyn Debate Resource Center, where she provided full-time debate support for hundreds of middle school and high school debaters in Brooklyn. Jessica was a successful collegiate debater representing the University of New Mexico. Ms. Clark has also worked in publishing and literary representation. She holds an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to her debate dork life, Jessica is also a certified yoga teacher and has studied yoga and meditation at ashrams around the world. In her free time she enjoys hiking, creative writing, and spending time outdoors with her family.
Sara Hirsch PROGRAMS & OPERATIONS MANAGER
Sara (she/her/hers) has been a public school educator for almost two decades where she spent the majority of her career as a secondary Spanish language teacher. Sara brings previous speech and debate experience as a competitive high school speaker and more recently as the coach of the speech and debate team at the Denver Center for International Studies. During her tenure there she sent six teams to the National Urban Debate League tournament. She is passionate about the difference that urban speech and debate make for all students. In addition to her love for kids and Spanish language instruction, she loves to dance and has been dancing with a flamenco company for ten years. Sara attended the University of Wisconsin where she earned her B.S. in Spanish. Then, she earned an M.A. in Spanish with a focus on literature and language from the University of Northern Colorado. In all of her free time, she owns and runs her own specialty baking business.
John McKiernan DIRECTOR OF TABULATIONS
John (he/him/his) competed in debate and speech events throughout his high school and university education. He coached high school competitors while getting his Bachelors degree and coached university competitors while earning a Masters and Ph.D. in Communication. John served as the Director of Forensics at two universities where he directed debate tournaments annually for two decades. John coached numerous national champions in both competitive speech and debate, but he is more interested in what his broad variety of students learned and how they applied those skills in their education and professional lives than their competitive successes. Since moving to Denver, John has worked as a project manager (with various titles) for nonprofit and for-profit corporations. His longest service was with two tech firms, managing software implementations and use for people in the organizations' national and international service departments. He also volunteered with several nonprofits, including 20+ years of raising dogs (and money, and awareness) for a service dog organization. John began volunteering as a DUDL judge and tournament staff member several years ago.
Davyna Rath Programs & Events Associate
Davyna Rath (she/her/hers) was a successful speech and debate competitor in high school representing Gateway High School in Aurora Public Schools. She is currently studying Criminal Justice and Criminology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is thrilled to be on the DUDL staff after getting so much out of her involvement with DUDL in high school. She is also serving as an Assistant Coach at Gateway. When she isn't working or studying, Davyna is an avid reader.
University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. 2255 East Evans Avenue Suite 406, Denver, CO 80210
Executive Director, Jessica Clark JessicaClark@urbandebate.org